Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Beat on Ruby's Street + Giveaway


Want to read The Beat on Ruby's Street? To win a free e-copy, enter our Rafflecopter giveaway!
Title: The Beat on Ruby's Street (A Beat Street Book)
Author: Jenna Zark
Publication Date: June 1st 2016
Publishing Company: Dragon Moon Press
Number of Pages: 139

Erin's favorite quote: "It's okay," he says. "Write."

What Goodreads has to say:

The last thing eleven-year-old Ruby Tabeata expected to happen on her way to a Jack Kerouac reading was to be hauled to the police station.
It’s 1958 and Ruby is the opposite of a 1950s stereotype: fierce, funny and strong willed, she is only just starting to chart her course in a family of Beat Generation artists in Greenwich Village. Ruby dreams of meeting famous poets while becoming one herself; instead, she’s accused of trying to steal fruit from a local vendor and is forced to live in a children’s home.
As Ruby struggles to return to family and friends, she learns her only choice is to follow her heart.
Join Ruby’s journey as she finds unexpected friendships, the courage to rebel against unjust authority and the healing power of art in this inspiring middle-grade novel by Jenna Zark.

What I have to say:

Endearing, engaging, and thought-provoking, The Beat on Ruby's Street is a fantastic middle-grade novel set in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1958. 

The story follows eleven-year-old Ruby Tabeata, an aspiring poet born into a Beat Generation family. Defiant, unconventional, and full of dreams about Jack Kerouac and the Beat poets, Ruby is a spirited, lovable protagonist with a strong voice, and readers should have little to no trouble relating to her, despite differences in time and location.

Ruby's troubles begin when she tries to attend a Jack Kerouac reading (Kerouac was a famous Beat Poet). Unfortunately, she never makes it to the reading. Instead, she gets waylaid by a neighborhood bully, arrested by the police, kidnapped by a social worker, taken to a children's home, released, and moved to a new house. 

Somewhere in there she hides in an Italian restaurant, breaks a few wine bottles, goes on a hunger strike, and sneaks out of her room in the middle of the night to attend a poetry reading. 

The gist of it all is that, while Ruby may be at the mercy of people who are older and have more authority than her, there's absolutely no way she's going to let them dictate her life. 

As a historical fiction novel, The Beat on Ruby's Street paints a vivid picture of what life was like for the Beat Generation in 1950s New York. The story is both informative and fun, and the author sets the stage brilliantly, working in little details about Kerouac and the Beatniks without coming across as heavy-handed or textbook-oriented. Both readers familiar with the Beat Generation and those who know nothing about it will find this an enchanting, moving read.

I loved The Beat on Ruby's Street. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about it. Even though it's not the kind of book I usually read, once I started, I couldn't tear my eyes from the pages (metaphorically - I read the Kindle edition). I think this was mainly due to the strong voice and perfect pacing. The story moves along at a natural pace that pulls the reader in and makes them want more. 

Besides all this, the story raises issues that are as relevant today as they were in 1958. Ruby wrestles with the realities of family, education, society, marriage, money, friendship, immigration, art, leadership, and authority. Her relationships with her family members are complicated and touching. Her view of the world is both insightful and innocent, but always relatable. 

Ruby is a wonderful character. The flashes of poetry scattered throughout the story are magic. And the last chapter is especially moving.

This has to be one of the best historical novels, and one of the best middle-grade novels, I've ever come across. Whether you're looking for a good historical fiction or a sweet middle-grade adventure - or just really good writing - pick up The Beat on Ruby's Street and you won't be disappointed.

Rating (out of 5) :

Until tomorrow.


  1. I quite enjoyed "War on Love", a book of poems by Fayon D Ashley. I liked the emotional range the author was able to convey.

    I made sure to share the giveaway/ post on Twitter; it deserves more attention!